During the first week of February, members of the UWF Student Government Association (SGA) attended Rally in Tally. First-year Honors students Wadey Abdelqader and Alex Brock were among this group of students who were advocating for the rights of college students across the state of Florida. According to Abdelqader, Rally in Tally is an event where members of SGAs from Florida universities and state colleges work together to lobby state Senators and Representatives on bills that are soon to be, or already are, on the floor that directly affect the students they represent.
UWF SGA represented and lobbied for the disbursement of Bright Futures for the summer term, decreasing the cost of excess credit hours surcharge, raising staff ratios for Mental Health Counseling Services, and increasing the size of law enforcement on the Florida State University campus. Selected because of his initiative to represent his school to the best of his ability on these topics, Abdelqader attended Rally in Tally with hopes of making a change across the state, within UWF, and in the Kugelman Honors Program.
“While we were there we [were able to speak] to our assigned representative and senator,” Abdelqader said. “We [also] stood behind the President of FAMU when she gave her speech to show our support, and after all our business was done, we toured Florida State’s School of Law.”
These Honors students learned valuable lessons during this rally that they brought back to both the university and the Honors program. They obtained the skills necessary to be able to contact government workers in the future in order for UWF’s voice to be heard and for this campus to make a real change on a state level. In relation to Honors, these students learned the importance of networking with other students and getting their ideas out to the public. As Honors works to have more of an impact campus-wide, these students will be equipped with the necessary skills to help successfully accomplish those ambitions.
“Though at this time I can’t say what position I will be running for next year, I definitely know that I will be highly involved within Student Government,” Abdelqader said. “I want to help be that voice that makes a difference.”
Other Honors students also hold positions within SGA and are constantly working to better our campus and statewide education and policies. These representatives represent over 12,000 students and their voices are being heard in order to make an impact.
With Honors students represented in UWF SGA, they are helping our university to “think smarter, not harder.”
Update: As of March 3, 2016, Wadey Abdelqader is running for seat in the UWF SGA Senate as a Senator of the College of Science and Engineering along with other Honors students Alex Brock and Leonie Dupuis.
Written by: Meg Hossler, second-year student, nursing major & Honors Social Chair